The Christmas Truce

1914The Christmas Truce in 1914 is an inspiring subject which captures the imagination of young people. I once did a lesson on the Christmas Truce, looking at two songs about the incident, but treating them initially as poems.

The two works were Pipes of Peace by Paul McCartney and Christmas 1914 by Mike Harding. Here are links to the songs:

This is the first verse of Christmas 1914 by Mike Harding. It is a beautiful poem and a lovely melody.

Christmas Eve, 1914, stars were burning, burning bright
And all along the Western Front the guns were lying still and quiet.
And men lay dozing in the trenches, in the cold and in the dark,
And far away behind the lines, a village dog began to bark.

Read the rest of the lyrics here. Christmas 1914 lyrics

Pipes of Peace lyrics – not overtly about the Truce, so should be looked at second

Suggested activities:

1. Show the picture (or similar) first. What is happening? Where are we? What is the date? Who are the people? Are they friends of enemies?

2. Look at the text of Christmas 1914. Read together. Use the five questions approach to studying the text.

3. Watch the video of the song Christmas 1914. How does this make you feel? Why wasn’t there a football match in Christmas 1915? What does this say about war?

4. Watch the Paul McCartney video of Pipes of Peace. How does this compare to the Mike Harding song? How is it different? Which do you prefer, and why?

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